News

Out in force at ICPEAC and EGAS 2021!


The group was out in force at ICPEAC International Conference on Photonic, Electronic and Atomic Collisions (vICPEAC) 2021, a flagship international conferences in the field, and EGAS 52 (European Group meeting on Atomic Systems)

Group member Dr Charlie Rawlins (Research Fellow) delivered a Special Report on our many-body theory of positron scattering and annihilation on polyatomic molecules.

Research Fellow Dr Brian Cunningham presented a poster talk on our Many-body theory of positron binding to polyatomic molecules;

Research Fellow Dr Andrew Swann presented a poster talk on our simulation of positron cooling via inelastic collisions in N2 and CF4 gases (including positron-positron interactions);

PhD student Jaroslav Hofierka presented a poster talk on his work on many-body theory calculations of positron binding to atoms.


At EGAS, PhD student Jaroslav Hofierka presented a talk on our recent work on many-body theory of positron binding to polyatomic molecules;

Research Fellow Dr Charlie Rawlins gave a talk on our most recent work on many-body theory of positron scattering and annihilation in molecules;

Research Fellow Dr Andrew Swann gave a talk on our work on positron cooling via inelastic collisions with N2 and CF4 gases (including positron-positron interactions).

Dermot becomes a Fellow of the Young Academy of Europe

The Young Academy of Europe (YAE) is a pan-European initiative of outstanding young scientists for networking, advocacy, scientific exchange, and science policy. The YAE is organised as a bottom-up initiative of a dynamic and innovative group of recognised European young scientists and scholars with outspoken views about science and science policy.

Dermot has been recognised for his outstanding leadership in the field of many-body theory for anti-matter interactions with atoms and molecules, but also for his roles in the international scientific community: he is a member of the International Scientific Advisory Board for the International Workshop for Positron and Positronium Physics (the flagship subject-specific conference in the field), Treasurer of the Institute of Physics Ireland and Secretary of the Institute of Physics Atomic and Molecular Interactions Group.

Dermot gives invited talk at DAMOP 2021

The 52nd meeting of the American Physical Society’s Division of Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics (DAMOP 2021 international conference) was held virtually in June 2021.

Dermot’s invited talk, “Many-body theory of positron binding in polyatomic molecules” , (title slide below) presented results of the group’s intensive efforts in developing many-body theory of positron binding in polyatomic molecules and its state-of-the-art computational implementation (stay tuned for the paper…)

Hairstyle not a fashion statement, but a consequence of shielding from March 2020-March 2021!

“Lightboard” for connected learning in applied mathematics and theoretical physics: Dermot gives talk at the UK Teaching and Learning Mathematics Online Workshop

For the TALMO Website click here

Dermot’s talk can be accessed here

(apologies for the poor sound and video quality in places… this is not representative of the lightboard, but reflects poor recording from the live workshop):


The talk was based on Dermot’s experience of online mathematics teaching via lightboard delivery, part funded by the QUB Engineering and Physical Sciences Faculty at QUB.

Conscious of the possible disconnect between lecturer and students in fully online delivery of mathematics/physics lectures, Andrew Swann and I proposed the development of a lightboard for the School of Mathematics and Physics. We secured £2,000 from the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences to build a working prototype. Dermot build his own at home, and the Physics workshop manager Philip Orr built a second one on campus, available for the EPS staff. Andrew and I delivered our Tensor Field Theory Course via lightboard to 3rd year Mathematics and Theoretical Physics students. (See the example below, which shows one of Dermot’s pre-recorded video lectures using his home-made lightboard.) Dermot used his during live tutorials also.

Dermot’s home-made “lightboard”, which he built to deliver his online lectures in Tensor Field Theory

Via anonymous quantitative feedback, the students overwhelmingly found the lightboard delivery led to a greater feeling of connectedness, that it was a superior mode of delivery than screencasting/voice-over-powerpoint or tablet.

Our experience and achievements in 2020-2021

Lockdown, childcare, 3 continents and research

Drawing Feynman diagrams with the kids, lockdown in 2020.

Since 12 March 2020 we have been working from home, and currently our group members are dispersed over 3 continents.

Our research activities have been heavily impacted by COVID lockdown restrictions in the UK, especially and Brian (senior postdoc) and me (Dermot, PI) who had to assume significant additional childcare duties for prolonged periods.

We had to come up with new ways of working. For example, I discovered that 2 year olds can help me draw Feynman diagrams (see image from my garden below).

Despite the challenges, we’ve stuck together and supported each other. We’ve made some groundbreaking progress, including developing the first ab initio description of positron binding in molecules (stay tuned!).


Innovative Connected Learning

Conscious of the possible disconnect between lecturer and students in fully online delivery of mathematics/physics lectures, Andrew Swann and I proposed the development of a lightboard for the School of Mathematics and Physics. We secured £2,000 from the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences to build a working prototype. Dermot built his own at home, and the Physics workshop manager Philip Orr built a second one on campus, available for the EPS staff. Andrew and I delivered our Tensor Field Theory Course via lightboard to 3rd year Mathematics and Theoretical Physics students. (See the example below, which shows one of Dermot’s pre-recorded video lectures using his home-made lightboard.) Dermot used his during live tutorials also.

Dermot’s home-made “lightboard”, which he built to deliver his online lectures in Tensor Field Theory

Via anonymous quantitative feedback, the students overwhelmingly found the lightboard delivery led to a greater feeling of connectedness, that it was a superior mode of delivery than screencasting/voice-over-powerpoint or tablet.

Dermot

Latest paper published in Computer Physics Communications 50th anniversary special edition

David, Dermot and Gleb have published a paper and computer code in the 50th anniversary special edition of Computer Physics Communication. The code solves the Hartree-Fock equations in a B-spline basis for atoms and arbitrary central potentials (relevant for finite particle approximations to the electron gas).

The paper can be accessed here.

Dermot gives talk at local school

Dermot returned to his former school Belfast Royal Academy (and to his old classroom!), to talk to a selection of 5th and 6th year students about his research in antimatter-matter interactions and his career path in physics. He was accompanied by PhD student Hannah McAleese, who discussed her research in quantum information theory. We hope the pupils enjoyed our visit as much as us, and hope to see them at Queen’s soon!

 

Jaroslav Hofierka joins the group as PhD student

Jaroslav Hofierka joins the group as a PhD student. Jaroslav obtained a BSc in Physics and Masters degrees in Theoretical physics at the Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic. Jaroslav will be putting his diverse expertise in theoretical physics to use developing ab initio methods for positron-molecule interactions, as well as more general computational methodologies for diagrammatic many-body theory. Welcome Jaro to Belfast, and to the group!

Dr Charlie Rawlins joins the group as a Research Fellow

Dr Charlie Rawlins joins the group as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow funded by the ANTI-ATOM ERC grant.

Charlie graduate BSc in nanotechnology and his PhD (2019) in theoretical physics from Curtin University, Perth, Australia. His PhD in the theoretical physics group of Igor Bray, Alisher Kadyrov and Dmitri Fursa concerned calculations of positron and positronium scattering on atoms with a focus on anti-hydrogen formation. He has expertise in theoretical atomic physics and positronium.

Welcome Charlie, to Belfast and to the group!